You don’t have to fit the common criminal stereotype to be charged with a criminal offense. Regular people are arrested everyday, often for a mistake or a misunderstanding. But when you are facing a criminal charge, that’s little reassurance. Even a disorderly conduct charge has the potential to change your life in a significant manner; understanding your rights and having an experienced advocate on your side can minimize this impact.
People find themselves facing Massachusetts disorderly conduct charges everyday. Often these charges are levied when a frustrated police officer gets annoyed or aggravated. But annoyance of one officer is rarely enough for a conviction.
Massachusetts Disorderly Conduct Laws
What is disorderly conduct? Massachusetts law defines a “disorderly person” as one who acts with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm; or recklessly creates a risk thereof by
- Engaging in fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior, or
- Creating a hazard or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose.
While annoying an officer or generally being a pain in their but might not win you any points, it certainly doesn’t fulfill all of the aspects of this offense. Often an officer will overestimate the risk you create, making it seem as if your behavior has created a hazard or offensive condition. If you attorney can show that the situation was misunderstood and possibly blown out of proportion, there’s a good chance the charges can be dropped.
Disorderly Conduct Penalties
If you are convicted of disorderly conduct in Massachusetts, this offense carries up to 6 months in jail.
In some situations, officer misinterpretation isn’t to blame for your arrest and charge. Perhaps you did engage in fighting or other actions that could be considered disorderly conduct. If this is the case it is your attorney’s job to advocate on your behalf, seeking to show the courts that you deserve mercy and a second chance.
Depending on your criminal record, your attorney may be able to work out a plea agreement with the prosecutor to ensure you don’t have to serve jail time. Instead, you may be allowed to serve your sentence within the community while on probation.
The specifics of your potential penalty and the likelihood that you’ll walk away with no consequences depend wholly on the facts of your case. Discussing all of the facts of your case with a criminal defense lawyer is the first step in ensuring the most positive result possible.
If you’ve been charged with Massachusetts disorderly conduct, contact us to speak with a local defense lawyer that can help.